Overheard on CNN.com: Mars rover naming schemes, not-so-tropical space vacations
NASA's Curiosity is set to touch down on Mars in August. The rover is bound for Gale Crater.
June 15th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Mars rover naming schemes, not-so-tropical space vacations

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Looking back over the past week, we've seen some interesting comments about what it would be like to go to other planets and moons. We decided to feature a few of these posts from readers to close out the week.

Rover bound for intriguing crater on Mars

Curiosity, NASA's most advanced rover, is going to search Gale Crater for evidence of life as we know it on Mars. Scientists say they have pinpointed the landing site with greater accuracy than in the past, resulting in a shorter transit to the crater itself. This mission got one reader wondering what it would be like to view Earth from afar.

helenecha: "It must be pretty much interesting to see Earth on Mars. So landing Curiosity to a site on Mars where the rover can see our Earth from Mars whatever makes sense, uh? Good luck to Curiosity! Godspeed to every member of all NASA's rover missions!"

Curiosity follows in the footsteps (or tracks) of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. All got their names from children's essay contests. Some of our readers conceded they would have used different names if it were up to them.

MrId: "They should be something like 'Conquer,' 'Robotic Death,' or 'Bigfoot.' "

Raymond: "I would have named them all Rover I, Rover II, Rover III, etc., etc. Hey, we keep track of the Super Bowl with Roman Numerals. Why not keep track of these?"

Cedar Rapids: "... the Mars rover, 'Megatron', today arrived at the crater ..."

You may recall that "Spirit" and "Opportunity" were dreamed up by 9-year-old essay writer Sofi Collis of Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2003. Collis was born in Siberia and at one point lived in an orphanage. The rover name Curiosity was the brainchild of Clara Ma of Lenexa, Kansas, in 2009.

If you could name a rover whatever you wanted, what would you call it? Conversely, what would come next in the current series? Please tell us in the comments section.

Some readers have wondered if Mars is the right place to be exploring. Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, was mentioned as a possible place. FULL POST

Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com
How professors' dads made math fun
Heather Lewis at her Ph.D. graduation with her father.
June 15th, 2012
09:53 AM ET

How professors' dads made math fun

Editor's Note: Matthew Lane is a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at UCLA and is the founder of Math Goes Pop!, a blog focused on the surprisingly rich intersection between mathematics and popular culture. Follow him on Twitter at @mmmaaatttttt. 

There are many misconceptions about mathematicians in popular culture. For example, windows and mirrors do not make for the best writing surfaces, despite what you might assume from "A Beautiful Mind" or "Good Will Hunting."

Mathematicians are also frequently portrayed as painfully socially awkward. And while this is sometimes the case, the true range of personality types is much more varied. Even among the more socially awkward, it is not uncommon for mathematicians to fall in love, marry and start a family.


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Filed under: Dear Old Dad • Math • On Earth


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